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21F.041 Topics in South Asian Literature and Culture

21F.041 Topics in South Asian Literature and Culture

This subject aims to provide an overview of contemporary texts in regional languages in South Asian Literature and Cinema. We will cover major authors and film makers, writing from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Within India, we will look at authors and directors working in different regional languages and as we examine their different socio-cultural, political and historical contexts we will attempt to understand what it means to study them under the all-unifying category of "South Asian Literature and Culture". Some of the major issues we shall explore include caste, gender, globalization and social change. We will end with exploring some of the newer, younger writers and directors and try to analyze some of the thematic and formal shifts in their work. Authors include Ashapurna Devi, Manto, Vijayan, Premchand, Mohanty, and Nasreen and film makers will include Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen and Rituporno Ghosh.


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Shamika Ann Mitchell
11 years ago

This is a well-developed course currciulum! I am impressed with the variety and diversity of authors and films. It will be an interesting addition to include one or two popular songs or music videos, especially since Bollywood has given the allure of a musical and enchanting South Asia. The course is divided into themes or topics, which will help focus the material around a central idea. The balance between the different cultures, genres and assignments is also very even. The pace seems fairly consistent.

I am surprised Arundhati Roy is not included, since her novel was highly praised. Then again, I am unsure if her novel was written in English, or whether translated texts are permissible. I also recommend the classic 1892 play Girls for Sale by Gurajada Apparao, which is available in English translation. For literary research and scholarship, Dr. Asha Choubey recently published Women on Women, which is a groundbreaking collection of scholarship about Indian women writers and their female protagonists.

Technical Remarks:

The photos were vivid. If possible, try to post a video link or two of authors and their lectures or interviews?

Used in course? Yes
Time spent reviewing site: one hour